Maa Lakshmi or Laxmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity (both material and spiritual), light, wisdom, fortune, fertility, generosity and courage; and the embodiment of beauty, grace and charm. Maa Laxmi also known as MahaLakshmi. Mahalakshmi is said to bring good luck. She is believed to protect her devotees from all kinds of misery and money-related sorrows.
Lakshmi in Sanskrit is derived from its elemental form laks, meaning “to perceive or observe”.This is synonymous with laksya, meaning “aim” or “objective”. The Hindu Sacred Texts Vedas call Mahalakshmi as Lakshyayidhi Lakshmihi which means she is the one who has the object and aim of uplifting mankind.
Goddess Mahalakshmi is called as Shri or Thirumagal (because she is endowed with six auspicious and divine qualities or Gunas and also because she is the source of strength even to Lord Narayana(Vishnu). She is the consort of Vishnu and married Rama (in her incarnation as Sita) and Krishna (as Radha and later Rukmini).
In Hinduism Devas (gods) and asuras (demons) were both mortal at one time. Amrit, the divine nectar that would give immortality could only be obtained by churning the Kshirsagar (Ocean of Milk). The devas and asuras both sought immortality and decided to churn the Kshirsagar. With the devas on one side and the asuras on the other, the samudra manthan commenced. Vishnu incarnated as Kurma, the tortoise, on whom was placed a mountain as a churning pole, and Vasuki, the great venom-spewing serpent, was wrapped around it and used to churn the ocean. A host of divine celestial objects came up during the churning. Among these, importantly, was Goddess Lakshmi, the daughter of the king of the milky ocean. The last to come up was the Amrit. With this, the avatar of Kurma, the tortoise, ended. Vishnu then took up the form of a beautiful maiden to distract the asuras and gave immortality to the devas.
Goddess Mahalakshmi has ever been in existence. Her appearance from samudra manthan is one of her main manifestation only. Goddess Mahalakshmi was also born to the great Sage Bhrigu and she is therefore also called as Bhargavi. Goddess Mahalkshmi is also the sister of the great Guru Sukracharya as well as the great planet Chandra. Each time Vishnu descends on earth as an avatar, He is accompanied by an avatar of Lakshmi.
Lakshmi with Vishnu at Vaikuntha
The moon (chandra) also appeared from the ocean during the churning, making it her brother. Alakshmi, the goddess of misfortune, is Lakshmi’s elder sister. According to the Vishnu Purana, Lakshmi is the daughter of Bhrigu and Khyaati and resided in Swarga, but, due to the curse of Durvasa, she left Swarga and made Ksheersagara her home.
Mahalakshmi is the presiding Goddess of the Middle episode of Devi Mahatmya. Here, she is depicted as Devi in her universal form as Shakti. The manifestation of the Devi to kill Mahishasura is formed by the effulgences of all the gods. The Goddess is described as eighteen-armed, bearing a string of beads, battle axe, mace, arrow, thunderbolt, lotus, bow, water pot, cudgel, lance, sword, shield, conch, bell, wine cup, trident, noose and the discus sudarsana. She has a complexion of coral and is seated on a lotus. She is known as Ashta Dasa Bhuja Mahalakshmi.
She is seen in two forms, Bhudevi and Sridevi, both either side of Sri Venkateshwara or Vishnu. Bhudevi is the representation and totality of the material world or energy, called the aparam Prakriti, in which She is called Mother Earth. Sridevi is the spiritual world or energy, called the Param Prakriti. Most people are mistaken that they are separate beings although they are one, Lakshmi. Devi Lakshmi is the power of Lord Vishnu.
Mahalakshmi’s presence is also found on Lord Sri Venkateswara (at Tirumala) or Vishnu’s chest, at the heart. Lakshmi is the embodiment of love, from which devotion to God or Bhakti flows from. It is through Love/Bhakti or Lakshmi that the atma or soul is able to reach God or Vishnu. Lakshmi plays a special role as the mediator between her husband Lord Vishnu and his worldly devotees. While Vishnu is often conceived of as a stern, easily perturbed patriarch, Lakshmi represents a more soothing, warm and approachable mother figure who willingly intervenes in the lives of devotees on his behalf. Often, it is Lakshmi who acts as the advocate for the request of a given mortal. When asking Vishnu for grace or the forgiveness of sins, Hindus often approach him through the intermediary presence of Lakshmi. She is also the personification of the spiritual energy within us and the universe, called Kundalini. Also, she embodies the spiritual world, also known as Vaikunta, the abode of Lakshmi-Narayana or Vishnu, or what would be considered Heaven in Vaishnavism. She is also the divine qualities of God and the soul. Lakshmi is the embodiment of God’s superior spiritual feminine energy, or the Param Prakriti, which purifies, empowers and uplifts the individual. Hence, she is called the Goddess of Fortune. Due to her motherly feelings and being the consort of Narayan (Supreme Being), she is believed as the Mother of the Universe.
Maa Vaisbhav Lakshmi has many names. She is known to be very closely associated with the lotus, and her many epithets are connected to the flower, such as:
Prakruti – Goddess Mahalakshmi is the very personification of nature, the centre of all, the manifested and the unmanifested.
Vikruti – Goddess Mahalakshmi is the Multi-Faceted Nature, who assumes many forms, known by numerous names, yet is attributeless.
Vidya – Goddess Mahalakshmi is the very personification of Wisdom.
Padma – Lotus dweller
* Kamala: lotus dweller
* Padmapriya: One who likes lotuses
* Padmamaladhara devi: One who wears a garland of lotuses
* Padmamukhi: One whose face is as beautiful as a lotus
* Padmakshi: One whose eyes are as beautiful as a lotus
* Padmahasta: One who holds a lotus
* Padmasundari: One who is as beautiful as a lotus
* Vishnupriya: One who is the beloved of Vishnu
* Ulkavahini: One who rides an owl
Her other names include: Rama, Indira, Manushri, Chakrika, Kamalika, Lalima, Kalyani, Nandika, Rujula, Vaishnavi, Narayani, Bhargavi, Sridevi, Chanchala, Bhumi Devi, Jalaja, Madhavi, Sujata, and Aiswarya. She is also referred to as Jaganmaatha (“Mother of the Universe”) in Shri Mahalakshmi Ashtakam. Rama and Indira are popular.
Goddess Mahalakshmi is also known to preside over 16 forms of worldly wealth excluding Ashta siddhis, gnana and imparting gnana. They are as follows: (1) Fame; (2) Knowledge; (3) Courage and Strength; (4) Victory; (5) Good Children; (6) Valor; (7) Gold, Gems and Other Valuables; (8) Grains in abundance; (9) Happiness; (10) Bliss; (11) Intelligence; (12) Beauty; (13) Higher Aim, High Thinking and Higher Meditation; (14) Morality and Ethics; (15) Good Health; (16) Long Life.
Maa Mahalaxmi worshiped as in Eight forms named Ashta Lakshmi. Ashta Lakshmi, also spelled as Ashtalakshmi are a group of eight Hindu goddesses, who preside over eight sources of wealth and thus represent the powers of Shri-Lakshmi (The Hindu goddess of wealth). Thus, the ‘Ashta Lakshmi’ are considered secondary manifestations of the goddess Lakshmi. “Wealth” in the context of Ashta-Lakshmi means prosperity, good health, knowledge, strength, progeny, and power. The Ashta Lakshmi are always depicted and worshipped in a group in temples.
The Ashta Lakshmi listed as per the prayer Shri Ashta Lakshmi Stotram are: –
* Adi Lakshmi or Maha Lakshmi : an ancient form of Lakshmi and incarnation of Lakshmi as daughter of sage Bhrigu.
* Dhana Lakshmi : for money and gold.
* Dhanya Lakshmi : Giver of agricultural wealth.
* Gaja Lakshmi : Giver of animal wealth like cattle and elephants Swami Chidananda interprets Gaja Lakshmi as giver of power of royalty. According to Hindu mythology, Gaja Lakshmi brought back the wealth lost by Indra (king of demi-gods) from the ocean. Vasudha Narayanan intrepret the name as “one who is worshipped by elephants”.
* Santana Lakshmi : Bestower of offspring.
* Veera Lakshmi : Bestower of valour in battles and courage and strength for overcoming difficulties in life.
* Vijaya Lakshmi or Jaya Lakshmi : Giver of victory, not only in battles but also over conquering hurdles in order to beget success.
* Vidya Lakshmi : the bestower of knowledge of arts and sciences.
In some Ashta Lakshmi lists, other forms of Lakshmi are included:
* Aishwarya Lakshmi : “Goddess of riches”
* Saubhagya Lakshmi : “Giver of prosperity in general.”
* Rajya Lakshmi : “She who blesses rulers (with secular power)”
* Vara Lakshmi : “The lady who bestows Beautiful Boons”.